Strong advances from a number of blue chip stocks drove the local sharemarket higher.
CSL firmed 1.9 per cent to $266.02, Commonwealth Bank added 1.9 per cent to $86.37, Wesfarmers rose 2 per cent to $52.13, Woolworths climbed 1.6 per cent to $40.33, Goodman Group closed 3.2 per cent higher at $18.03 and Cochlear advanced 3.7 per cent to $213.08.
REA Group surged 4.9 per cent to $140.61. after it was upgraded to outperform by Macquarie, which said the company was its preferred online real estate portal. We believe REA Group has greater pricing power given its market-leading position, the analysts said.
Xero climbed 2 per cent to $123.47. It said it would acquire Swedish e-invoicing infrastructure business Tickstar for consideration of up to $22.9 million.
Premier Investments advanced 2.7 per cent to $23.84 after saying it earned more in the first half of fiscal 2021 than it did in the entire year last year, with net profit soaring 89 per cent to $188.2 million, beating consensus forecasts.
GrainCorp shares rose 6.2 per cent to $5.00 after announcing it would expand its core bulk handling business to include commodities like woodchips, cement and fertiliser in a bid to boost earnings from its rural infrastructure and port network.
Westpac led the losses on the local sharemarket after Reserve Bank of New Zealand said its subsidiary in New Zealand needed to take a close look at its risk governance practices after finding it had miscalculated a ration that measures the ability to withstand stress for eight years, up until last year. It fell 1 per cent to $24.19.
Energy stocks were among the markets worst performers after the price of crude was hit hard amid rising concerns on the demand outlook, as Europe extended lockdown measures well into next month.
Oil Search fell 3.1 per cent to $4.13, Woodside Petroleum dropped 1.1 per cent to $24.20 while BHP Group dropped 0.2 per cent to $44.88.
AGL Energy dropped 1.2 per cent to $10.34. It said it would start construction on a large battery at its Torrens Island power station in Adelaide after giving its first firm commitment to build a grid-scale storage plant.
Santos fell 1.5 per cent to $7.06. The energy company awarded the contract for the construction and operation of a production vessel to BW Offshore, the biggest contract connected with its $US3.6 billion ($4.64 billion) Barossa gas project off the coast of northern Australia.
Travel stocks also traded lower, with lockdowns extending across Europe. Webjet slid 4.6 per cent to $5.67, Flight Centre Travel Group fell 3.1 per cent to $18.31, Corporate Travel Management declined 2.6 per cent to $19.65 and Qantas closed 1.5 per cent lower at $5.13.
Gold miners were mixed despite the price of the precious metal slipping. Northern Star Resources closed 3.2 per cent higher at $10.25 while Perseus Mining slid 4.2 per cent to $1.15 and Westgold Resources declined 1 per cent to $2.09.
Computershare entered a trading halt after announcing the acquisition of the assets of Wells Fargo Corporate Trust Services for $US750 million ($967.5 million). The acquisition will be funded through a combination of debt and equity, with the company launching an $835 million underwritten pro-rata accelerated renounceable entitlement offer.